By Harley Nefe
In conjunction with the 24th annual Preseason Sale, Appalachian Ski Mtn. is hosting a special Coat Drive as an Eagle Scout project by Blowing Rock resident Jensen Moretz.
The Preseason Sale and Coat Drive began on October 15, and there have already been more than 80 winter coats donated, said Jensen’s father, Brad Moretz. There are a couple of days left where donations will still be accepted as the Sale and Coat Drive both end on October 24.
After October 24, the donated winter coats will be distributed to children in the Watauga County School system through the help of school administration.
“I was thinking about an Eagle Scout project to do, and my dad pitched this idea to me,” Jensen said. “I went and talked to Cove Creek and Green Valley schools, and the principals set me up with their social workers, and we made a plan to collect the coats at Appalachian Ski Mtn. and distribute them back to the schools at a later date.”
Jensen, who joined Scouts around five years ago, is in Troop 109 and is currently a Life Scout and has between 30-40 badges. He explained that a community project is part of the process to earn the Eagle Scout ranking, which he is working toward.
“I’m just really proud that Jensen has stuck this out and has made the effort to go all the way to Eagle Scout,” said Jennifer Moretz, Jensen’s mother. “We have heard time and time again that a lot of people will make it just to Life Scout, and they drop out for whatever reason. So, we are just really proud.”
Jensen said he really enjoys Scouting, and he recommends other individuals get involved as well.
“It definitely helps out with leadership, problem solving and team building skills as well as a lot of basic knowledge that helps people all around,” he said.
For example, after being engaged in the Watauga County community, Jensen realized that there was a need for the coat drive.
“About 33% of students at the elementary schools are on a discounted or free meal plan,” he said. “So, I didn’t think families who couldn’t afford meals would be able to afford nice winter jackets.”
And the coat drive isn’t just for children’s coats as adult sizes are being accepted as well. Every donated coat is being washed and cleaned so that they are ready to be given to families in need.
Jensen said so far during his coat drive, he has received positive feedback from the community, which has been a rewarding experience.
“Most of the people that have come by are just happy to donate and happy to help,” he said.
Any guest who brings in an old winter coat to donate through October 24 will receive a free ski ticket that is good for use on either December 9 or 10 at Appalachian Ski Mtn.
“We were working with the schools to benefit children who couldn’t afford a winter coat, just to make sure they stay warm during the winter, and people will receive ski tickets in return for their coats that they donate to hopefully get more people involved in skiing and snowboarding,” Jensen said.
Brad Moretz, who is the co-owner of Appalachian Ski Mtn, said Jensen’s project means a lot to him because he was an Eagle Scout, and his experience has meant a lot to him in his lifetime.
“I’m happy to see Jensen involved in Scouts,” he said. “And I’m proud of Jensen for doing a project that will help people enjoy winter more, and supporting a cause that is near and dear to our hearts — helping people have fun outdoors.”